I sang a solo in Notre-Dame Cathedral, where the acoustics were incredible.

Anyone who’s heard Stephanie Waltrip sing can’t help but be captivated by her depth and musical talent. The Howler caught up with her at a recent gig at El Vaquero in Tamarindo and got to know her a little better.

You’re from Tucson, Arizona. What brought you here to Tamarindo?

I was in a job where I wore pencil skirts, high heels and makeup every day. I decided I couldn’t do it anymore, so I sold all my things and bought a one-way ticket to Costa Rica. It was here that I got to see local musicians perform and was inspired to start singing again.

The audience here at El Vaquero is really enjoying your show. When did you first get started singing?

I was 8 years old when I realized I loved to sing and my mother sent me to voice lessons. When I got to high school, I joined the choir and it was magical hearing all the parts and harmonies. Later I was lucky enough to be selected to sing with a choir that traveled to Europe. I sang a solo in Notre-Dame Cathedral, where the acoustics were incredible. I felt like I was floating in a dream.

That’s quite a hairstyle … or lack of it.

My hair? It felt so freeing to buzz it all off. I had my friends and family do it on Thanksgiving before I left for my big adventure. Many were worried, but when I looked in the mirror, I felt like a badass. No more chemicals, products and fussing over my hair. I heard it was hot and humid in Costa Rica anyway. It’s been seven months and I have no plans to grow it back. I just started living for me and no one else. You only live once, right?

So what’s happening now?

Tamarindo has such a great community. It wasn’t long before I was meeting musicians and exercising my voice again. Now I sing with the very talented Jesse Bishop in a duo, performing blues, rock, soul and country. I’m also putting a band together that’s still a work in progress. I’m calling it Pinky Guaro. It will be a mix of punk, indie rock and funk — the kind of music that makes you wanna dance!

With that Stephanie went back to work doing what she does best — singing, dancing, and having a great time.